Four new cases in MIQ today, officials scramble to vaccinate border staff

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 13 Apr 2021, 1:24PM
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield revealed on Monday the latest security guard who tested positive for Covid-19 wasn't also vaccinated.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield revealed on Monday the latest security guard who tested positive for Covid-19 wasn't also vaccinated.

Four new cases in MIQ today, officials scramble to vaccinate border staff

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 13 Apr 2021, 1:24PM

There are four new Covid cases in managed isolation facilities to report today.

The four new border cases travelled from Ethiopia, Philippines, India and Croatia. They arrived in New Zealand between March 18 and April 8.

The case from Ethiopia tested positive on day 24, the Philippines case on day 11, the India case on day 5 and the Croatia case on day three. All were discovered from routine testing.

There are no new cases in the community, the Ministry of Health said.

Meanwhile, 21 out of the 23 contacts of Case B - the first of two Grand Millennium hotel security guard to be infected - have tested negative for Covid. Health officials are waiting for the two other results.

Regional public health officials have reported that Case B, who took three Auckland bus trips, wore a mask and sat away from other passengers. Those on the bus are considered casual contacts, the ministry says.

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,948,223.

On Monday, 3330 tests were completed.

A pop-up testing centre is available at the Mt Roskill War Memorial in 15 May Rd from today through to Friday.

New Zealand's total number of confirmed cases is now 2231.

This year there have been 44 historical cases, out of a total of 415 cases.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases detected at the border sits at eight.

Yesterday it was revealed that 538 MIQ staff were yet to receive the jab and had until April 30 to do so or they wouldn't be redeployed.

That was announced after director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said a second security guard who worked at the Grand Millennium and had tested positive for Covid-19 had also not been vaccinated.

The person had wanted to get the vaccine but was in isolation, Bloomfield told media yesterday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has warned that the bar for these workers not getting the Covid-19 vaccination before the end of the month is "very high".

"There is essentially no reason that we consider acceptable."

She confirmed yesterday that 86 per cent of MIQ staff – some 3472 workers – have received the vaccine which left 538 who had not.

Act leader David Seymour said waiting until the end of the month for all MIQ workers to be vaccinated was unacceptable, given the risk of another community outbreak.

He said the Government should use the powers afforded to it under the Covid-19 Act to tell unvaccinated frontline MIQ staff if they haven't got the jab by this Sunday, "don't come in on Monday".

"Stop pussyfooting about and take the necessary steps to protect New Zealanders and the economy from another outbreak of Covid-19," he said of Ardern.

There were seven new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation yesterday, with three of those linked to existing cases.

MIQ Brigadier Jim Bliss said his team were continuing to review their processes but no significant findings had come out of that audit.

But he said the security guard was not tested in the "period of infection". The man's last test was April 8.

"It is a concern ... and we will have to look at strengthening that process," Bliss said.

Bliss said his team was still investigating when the security guard was last tested but he was concerned it wasn't within the 14-day testing policy.

He said the focus was now on established the cause of infection.